Anime at a Glance: Saga of Tanya the Evil

Dust flies, the shells ring out in the distance and everyone rushes from the trenches. Like lambs to the slaughter the soldiers charge forward amidst the fire of mortars and rifle shots. The few who make it far enough get pinned down and surrounded, disarmed and awaiting their final moment to end. Shells hit the enemy troops, clearing a way for a mage to drop in and extract the lone survivor in the area to be taken back to the trench. Given strict orders to stay until the last man, they cannot retreat.

“Believers, have faith in the Lord’s blessings. For the Lord will not abandon us. Give me the power to destroy the enemies of the Fatherland.”

Her eyes turn golden, and a powerful explosion rings through the air and decimates the forces below. The platoon commander descends and orders everyone to fight. Tanya Von Degurechaff, rising through the ranks, is one of the second lieutenants on the battlefield. She is on her way to becoming known for her victory in the current Rhine battle, despite being only 9 years old.

In the present time, several major powers are involved in a war spanning across the continent. Tanya serves the Empire fiercely and seeks to rise among the ranks, crush her enemies, and live a long life after the war ends. In the midst of the battle, a few of her Corporals rush forward to destroy the enemy artillery, disobeying their superior commander’s orders and charging forward. Corporal Serebryakov watches as Tanya’s eyes turn cold, expecting the worst.

After the battle, they take a well-deserved break before being summoned to the second lieutenant’s tent. After disobeying her orders, she’s relieving them of their duties and sending the two reckless fools home. The situation turns even more tense when they refuse to be sent home, believing their actions to be correct, stirring up more anger in Tanya as she prepares to draw her sword. After calming herself for a moment she releases the grip of her sword and puts Serebryakov’s mind at ease by dismissing them once again.

The next mission goes by with the two Corporals moved to the rear lines in a pillbox, for people joining to die for their country this seemed like the simplest resolution. Serebryakov is simply happy that they’re in the rear where it’s safe, though with all the constant fighting she falls from exhausting during the night mission to the ground as they discover an advance mage troop and Tanya orders a strategic fallback to inform their commander.

With new information, the Commander asks Tanya to rally her platoon to take out the new mage threat on the front lines. An argument is made with Serebryakov’s safety and reliability is made after the fall from the previous sortie. Worried about holding everyone back, Serebryakov throws herself forward to volunteer for the mission to sway their Commander’s opinion back. Seeing her dedication, he assigns Tanya and her mage platoon to the rescue mission and sends them off to prepare.

Upon entering the battlefield, they watch as the soldiers they’re sent to rescue being destroyed already. Unhappy with the option of returning to base and aborting operation, Tanya orders her soldiers to fight and take out the mage unit they’ve been sent against. To make it easy, she’ll take out three platoons, the rest of them only must defeat the remaining one.

“I pray unto God. Lord, save my Fatherland.”

Her eyes become golden once again as she activates her mage jewel, and she dashes in towards the entire enemy mage battalion.

The enemies take defensive positions and the commander urges them to start firing, to shoot her down but she’s far too small, and fast, to be able to hit. Dashing through the fire she raises her rifle and lets loose three shots, causing explosions to obscure the enemy vision, charging forward still. As some of the smoke clears the enemy mage commander watches her charge a bayonet through her soldier’s head, decapitating him, with a twisted smile across her face. Her speed is unrivaled as she ascends further into the sky to chase three enemies down. The rest of their company begins to ascend after her, though limited by their magic equipment they are forced to stop.

Tanya stops and raises open communications across the radio with them, declaring them to be invaders of the Fatherland, asking them to leave. They fire at her, only to watch everything pass through a hologram. “Negotiations have broken down it seems.” Letting out an audible sigh of disappointment. The enemy commander fires a powerful explosive shot towards her, directly hitting her. A moment later the smoke clears as she lowers her barrier and waves her hand, displaying a magical targeting grid. Locking her next projectile onto the remainder of the mage company in front of her.

“Oh, Lord… Save our Fatherland from these faithless invaders. At the end of our long road, we shall reach the promised land.”

Her rifle glows a cascade of colors, barely able to contain the power she’s contained within this next shot, before she pulls the trigger and releases a giant explosion within the enemy ranks.

She announces to the battlefield of enemies to lay down arms and they’d be declared prisoners of war. No one would want to stand against this display of power.

Back at base camp, Serebryakov receives a letter from a messenger within the army that the previous corporals previously dismissed by Lieutenant Degurechaff have been killed in action. She deems it only fitting to break the news to Tanya herself. As she walks into the tent and begins to mention their names, Tanya appears to have already guessed the conclusion.

“After all, a pillbox doesn’t move, and stationary targets are perfect for artillery.”

This anime mirrors World War I as far as a timeline would go, obviously changing the military and country names but for a reason other than you’d think. The main difference of this world is that magic is present, and some people are born with an affinity to utilize it. With mages becoming a tool to be used in a war, they appear to be used in place of fighter planes or scouts, as their mobility is heightened using technology being adapted to strengthen or modify a Mage’s capabilities beyond their normal limits.

Tanya is another matter, as she possesses an experimental jewel that enhances her magic far above what other mages are issued. There’s a reason for her to recite a blessing or chant for each time she uses her magic as well, though it’s revealed in the second episode, I’d rather not spoil anything from the show so far. Her above average intelligence is also explained under the same reason, as well as why the names of the countries are all changed.

It’s like a more widespread magical adaptation of Izetta: The Last Witch from last season. If there was more than just one person in the war that used magic, it’d probably be more like Saga of Tanya the Evil. It’s not surprising to learn that it was also licensed by Funimation this season, as Izetta was the previous season. Though made by different studios their opening premise isn’t too different, though they branch apart completely within a few episodes and have nothing in common afterwards.

The most impressive part about this anime has been the action sequences, as following political agendas would be just too boring for almost any show. While it may be filled with violence, it also hasn’t dipped into heavy fan service, like most anime do, but there is still half a season left at the time of posting this introduction to the series. It is an action-packed adventure into an alternate history of the world if wars were fought using mages and technology to say the least. There are some political scenes that offer some extra exposition or plot advancement, but it is usually kept short and to the point.

Pop over to Crunchyroll to check out the first few episodes of this amazing show.

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